Ritu Kumar

Ritu Kumar is one of India’s most prominent designers in the fashion world. Her brand label is Ritu Kumar, which sections into three collection categories: Label, Contemporary India, and Ri-Ritu Kumar Bridal/Evening wear (Kumar, 2016). Each collection reaches out to different demographics. Label is Ritu Kumar’s most recent collection that reaches out to the younger generations of India with a western silhouette twist. Contemporary India is chic, sophisticated, and conservative. It is more focused on a middle-aged demographic. Lastly, Ri-Ritu Kumar’s bridal/evening wear is beautifully embellished and designed with a variety of formal wear from suits, sarees, lehengas, to gowns and dresses.

Kumar is most known for her intricate details and designs for her brand, Ri-Ritu Kumar, which carries her bridal/evening collection. She is also well-known for her own unique style of embroidery, textiles, and transforming it into traditional and western silhouettes (Kumar, 2016). Kumar’s distinct design style first started out with her hand-block printer and soon became the very first woman to introduce the “boutique” culture to India (Utsavepedia, 2014). Her inspiration derives from ethnic Indian textiles, embroidery, and design. Kumar’s textiles of hand-block printing is hand crafted by Bengali weavers (Tankha, 2015). She also specifically uses ahimsa silk only, which is found in Murshidibad in West Bengal (Tankha, 2015). Her intricate designs use specifically the Kutch and Shibori embroidery styles (Utsavpedia, 2014). Another historical craft that Kumar utilizes is the Zardozi, which was a precious metal historically used by Mughal emperors (Utsavpedia, 2014). She uses Zardozi designs on her bridal wear, which consist of a unique blend of pattern, fabric, and gold embroidery.

Kumar’s designs are not only elegant, beautiful, and a show-stopper, but she greatly contributes to the marginalized populations of ethnic Indian women in India. Her distinct design style requires her to reach out to the most efficient and skilled crafters, which derive from small villages of women with amazing skills to reproduce embroidery and weaving designs. An example of this is her choice of using ahimsa silk instead of China silk. Her utilization of ahimsa silk greatly supports marginalized women to have employment and a source of income, which gives them the ability to support their family and children to attain an education(Tankha, 2015). Another design aesthetic that allows Kumar to support marginalized women with employment is her embroidery designs on her bridal wear. Kumar’s most recent clothing line called, “The Revivalist,” focuses deeply on traditional Indian crafts of Kutch and Shibori embroidery (Utsavpedia, 2014).

Other than creating beautiful and innovative designs, Kumar’s designs have dressed numerous celebrities and royalty, local and global pageants, and created employment for marginalized communities. Her work is keeping traditional ethnic Indian textiles, designs, and embroidery alive in the modern world. This is greatly significant and influential because during the British occupation, many Indian textiles, motifs, and designs were destroyed (Karan, 2015).

Researching India’s foremost designer, Ritu Kumar, will help me understand how India’s traditional dress has evolved throughout the years. It is greatly beneficial for me to understand the various styles of dress and names for articles, such as sarees, lehengas, and suits. I am also better educated in dress styles in India and what conservatism signifies when dressing for Indian culture. This will greatly enhance my experience in India as I continue to understand India’s fashion industry in textiles, and design.

Ritu Kumar current designs:

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Contemporary India Collection
Pink A-line Kurti
Kumar, Ritu. (2016). Contemporary India: Pink a-line kurti. Retrieved 29, 2016 from http://www.ritukumar.com/pink-a-line-kurti-by-ritu-kumar

 

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Bridal/Evening Collection
Red and Green Zardozi Lehenga Choli Set
Kumar, Ritu. (2016). Bridal/evening wear: Red and green zardozi lehenga choli set. Retrieved December 29, 2016 from http://ri.ritukumar.com/red-and-green-zardozi-lehenga-choli-set

References:
Karan, (2015, July 23). Ritu Kumar: Life in the shoes of the fashion designer. [Web log
post]. Retrieved from
http://www.yosuccess.com/success-stories/ritu-kumar-fashion-designer/

Kumar, Ritu. “History of Indian Designer Ritu Kumar.” Ritu Kumar. n.d. Web. 29 Dec.
2016. Retrieved from
http://www.ritukumar.com/about-ritu-kumar

Tankha, M. “Weaving Compassion.” The Hindu. 07 June 2015. Web. 29 Dec. 2016.
Retrieved from
http://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/fashion/ritu-kumars-latest-collection-inspires-weaving-compassion/article7291563.ece

Utsavpedia. (2014, October 14). Ritu Kumar: The foremost designers in theIndian fashion industry. Retrieved from
http://www.utsavpedia.com/fashion-cults/ritu-kumar/

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